Days and even hours before the serial blasts that rocked Sri Lanka during Sunday's Easter celebrations, Indian intelligence agencies had shared the names of at least six Islamic State terrorists with the island nation. Besides, Sri Lanka was also warned about Easter attack mastermind Zahran Hashim whose audio clips and videos were seized by Tamil Nadu police last year.
India had reportedly warned Sri Lanka that ISIS was trying to influence the youth with the radical Islamic ideology and establish the Khalifah (Islamic rule) there. There were credible inputs with the Tamil Nadu police that the ISIS terrorists were even planning to murder some prominent South Indian leaders. The police had subsequently arrested six terror suspects who had formed the ISIS module in Tamil Nadu named Mohamed Ashiq A, Ismail S, Samsudeen, Mohammed Salauddin S, Jafar Shadik Ali and Shahul Hameed. Their names and adresses were reportedly also shared with the Sri Lanka police.
The details were shared with Colombo two days and even two hours before the attacks, intelligence officials told Economic Times, adding that it was highly regrettable that Sri Lanka didn't act.
According to the intelligence officials, the ISIS terrorists in India were also in touch with Easter attack mastermind Zahran Hashim and there is a possibility that they were aware of the suicide bombings beforehand.
The ISIS terrorists were active on social media and were propagating the radical Islamic ideology among the youth and hate against prominent Hindu leaders in India as well.
The videos seized from these youth showed Zahran Hashim lecturing youth from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka to establish Islamic rule in the region. In a video released by the ISIS-owned news agency, Amaq, around eight terrorists appeared with seven of them masked who claimed the responsibility of the Easter blasts. The man standing with his face uncovered in the middle was Zahran Hashim, who is also suspected to be one of the suicide bombers.
Anger grows in Sri Lanka over intelligence failure
Anger is brewing on the streets of Sri Lanka over the alleged intelligence failure of the police and the government especially when they had been warned beforehand about a probable terror attack. Although Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena have maintained that they were not aware of any prior information about the terrorist attacks, Sri Lanka's police officials had issued an alert.
Due to the relatively peaceful past and little known impact of the suspect terror group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), there were not enough security arrangements in place especially during the mammoth gathering on Sunday's Easter celebrations.
This made it possible for the terrorists to strike various high-end hotels and churches across the country in a matter of a few hours killing 390 people.